Hoffman Estates Park District named Grande Plaque recipient for National Gold Medal Award

Last week at the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) conference in Dallas, Texas, the Hoffman Estates Park District (HEParks) was named the Grand Plaque recipient of the National Gold Medal Award for excellence in parks and recreation management for population size 35,001 to 75,000.

The award, presented by the American Academy of Parks and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with NRPA, is the most prestigious award within the industry of parks and recreation. HEParks had previously received the award in 2009. This award highlights the district's enduring commitment to provide the best in parks and recreation services for the community.

"We are honored in being recognized with the Gold Medal Award; it truly exemplifies all the hard work of our commissioners, volunteers and terrific staff in providing first class parks, facilities and recreational programming for our residents. We will continue to strive in offering the very best we can for our community," said Craig Talsma, executive director of HEParks.

In addition to the National Gold Medal Award, HEParks was also recognized in Dallas for receiving its third Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) accreditation. CAPRA's rigorous standards provide quintennial certification that park and recreation agencies are operating within the best practices for the industry. Only nine park districts in the state of Illinois have ever received this accreditation, and HEParks has been continuously certified since 2013 and through 2028.

HEParks has also been accredited five times through the Illinois Distinguished Park & Recreation Agency Accreditation process, performed by the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) and the Illinois Parks & Recreation Association (IPRA). This sexennial award certifies the district is operating within the highest standards of the Illinois Park District Code and proven best policies and procedures. HEParks has been continuously accredited since 2000 and through 2028.

"We are thrilled for our community, and everyone involved with our great park district. This Gold Medal Award is the absolute best a park district can achieve," said Raj Chhatwani, HEParks board president.

HEParks is also a nine-time recipient of the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the U.S. and Canada, the highest acknowledgment in governmental accounting and financial reporting.

Overall, HEParks stands unrivaled among Illinois park districts, with more state and national accreditations and Gold Medal recognition. These honors underscore their comprehensive approach to community service of providing equitable recreational programs and facilities, financial and environmental stewardship and health and wellness for the entire community.

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